HILL AIR FORCE BASE — The Hill Aerospace Museum will be cutting 18 aircraft, three missiles and other support vehicles from its collection.
The museum is located at Hill Air Force Base and has been open to the public for almost 30 years. It has more than 2,000 artifacts on 34 acres of land.
"We have a lot of aircraft in that museum and as the government continues to reduce resources, we won't have the manpower, funding or means necessary to give those aircraft the attention they need over time," said Acting Museum Director Aaron Clark. "With that being the case, the most responsible thing would be to give other museums the opportunity to have these aircraft and to take care of them."
The museum's aircraft require periodic restoration and repairs to maintain appearance, which can be costly. Clark said an outdoor plane needs to be painted every five or six years, which can run from $15,000 to $100,000 depending on the size of the plane.
The mission of the museum is to portray the history of the Hill Air Force Base and aviation in the state of Utah. Clark said museum officials are using the cuts as an opportunity to refocus on the mission while becoming more fiscally responsible.
"These aircraft have little to do, or sometimes nothing to do, with that mission," he said. "So we put that into consideration when we chose the aircraft that we were going to put on the excess list."
Most of the aircraft being excessed are located outside, which makes them more expensive to maintain, but some of the current indoor displays will also be finding a new home. Clark said the planes people are most likely to notice missing are the A-7, B-47 and F-106.
"If we eliminate those (aircraft) and they actually go away, then we'll have space to bring more aircraft that have more to do with Hill Air Force Base inside and protect them from the elements."
However, removing the planes from the collection will allow the museum to focus more on artifacts with local ties. It has plans to restore a C-47 that was used in the middle of the century and bring it indoors.
"If we eliminate those (aircraft) and they actually go away, then we'll have space to bring more aircraft that have more to do with Hill Air Force Base inside and protect them from the elements," Clark said.
After downsizing, the museum will still have more than 50 aircraft.
The excess artifacts will not disappear from the museum overnight. The excess list has been sent to the National Museum of the Air Force in Ohio, which will work with organizations that would like to obtain the artifacts.
The aircraft will be offered to field museums, base air parks, certified civilian museums and service museums. They could also find a future home with veteran's organizations, hospitals and cities.
"If they have a desire or a need for that aircraft in their collection, they can work with the national museum to see if they can obtain it," Clark said.
Museum officials said they don't expect the streamlining of aircraft to affect attendance. More than 138,000 people visited the museum last year.
Museum Excess List:
Aircraft: F-4C (RF), F-4E, F-86L, T-39A (CT), C-131D, C-130E (trainer), H-21C, F-4E (GF), A-7F (YA), C-45H, F-106A (QF), U-3A, H-13T, T-28B (BUNO), F/A-18A, B-47E (WB), C-119F (RCAF), C-7B
Missles: CIM-10C Missle, LGM-118 Peacekeeper Missle, LGM-30 Minuteman III Missle
Support Vehicles: BGM-109A Trailer, SSCBM Minuteman ICBM Storage, Peacekeeper Air Elevator Support Trailer, Peacekeeper Support Truck
Contributing: Cleon Wall